How to Write a Scope of Work for a Marketing Project

How to Write a Scope of Work for a Marketing Project blog header


Getting Started: Writing a Scope of Work

Writing a Scope of Work (SOW) is often the first step toward starting a working relationship with a new client.

The Scope of Work often represents the first impression between your business & the client’s decision-making team. A poorly written, ambiguous or generic Scope of Work can make for a rocky beginning, & may result in lost business.

A Scope of Work helps both parties agree to terms, conditions, requirements & project expectations.

In short, the SOW lays the foundation for the project’s success & helps make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Why is a Scope of Work Important?

The importance of a Scope of Work rests in its ability to clearly define project expectations.

Moreover, a SOW is a reflection of the business providing the services; illustrating how the business operates, manages clients/customers & presents itself to potential new business.

What is a Scope of Work?

A Scope of Work is a formal agreement specifying all requirements, terms & expectations , between the service provider & the customer.

The purpose of this document is to clearly define what should be expected, what will be provided & what terms will be agreed upon.

Ultimately, a SOW helps eliminate ambiguity between parties. By writing a clear, detailed & specific Scope of Work, you’ll avoid unexpected project changes & misunderstood agreements.

What are the Elements of a Scope of Work?

Most standard Scope of Work documents contain the following parts:

  1. Objective/Purpose
  2. Scope of Work
  3. Schedule
  4. Price
  5. Key Assumptions
  6. Acceptance

A solid, well-written SOW allows your company to establish a good relationship with the customer, improves your reputation & chance for referrals. It also gives you the opportunity to maximize the value (in time/money/resources/etc.) of a contract.

How to Write a Good Scope of Work?

To write a good Scope of Work, a business must take the time to develop a clear, unique & specific project outline.

Simply ‘copy + pasting’ a generic SOW, & updating names or dates, will not be enough. This will result in ambiguous agreements & unclear terms.

To write a good Scope of Work, you must:

  • Conduct Research

Before you get started writing the SOW, conduct extensive research into the client, the market, competitors & their target consumer. Also, take the time to research their business objectives, project goals & challenges.

  • Build a Strategy

Once complete, review all of the research & begin outlining a plan of action & strategy. Figure out what the essential objectives are & what tools do you possess to solve them? Building a strategy is essential, especially as business, market & project changes pop up; when they do, you’ll know how to best solve the problem by returning to the underlying strategy.

  • Be Clear & Concise

In general, business writing should always focus on being clear & concise. When it comes to a SOW, the importance is magnified. Reason being because the Scope of Work represents the initial agreement between both parties & will be referenced throughout the project lifecycle. If there are any ambiguities or misunderstandings, as the result of an unclear SOW, the business relationship may suffer.

  • Set Reasonable Expectations

It’s a good rule-of-thumb to under-promise & over-deliver. While planning & writing the SOW, be sure to take all costs, resources & time factors into consideration. Be upfront about what you will provide the client & don’t set unreasonable expectations; just to close the deal. While this may seem like a good way to gain new business, it will eventually end poorly.

  • Lay Out Terms & Conditions

Provide all essential terms & conditions upfront. This gives both parties the opportunity to negotiate, make changes or agree as is. As with all parts of the SOW, the terms & conditions help to clear up any misunderstandings.

What to Do Before Submitting the Scope of Work?

Before submitting the Scope of Work to the client, make sure to review the entire document; with the understanding that this represents a formal agreement between both parties.

While the SOW may not be as detailed as the typical service contract, it is often the first official document between businesses. It will be referenced several times throughout the project lifecycle, & as such, should be simple to understand & use straight-forward language.

Finally, before you get started, be sure to take the Scope of Work as seriously as you do the actual work you provide for clients.

While writing a good SOW may be a time-intensive process, it will represent your business to the potential client; & will be used to judge your professionalism, abilities, communication skills & attention to detail.